How to Choose A Neighborhood

The neighborhood you choose can have a big impact on your lifestyle and the enjoyment of your home. The convenience, safety, and available amenities in the area all play their part. 

Price is just an opener

The average selling price of homes in a neighborhood is a fairly good indication of overall desirability, but don’t put too much faith in that alone. Price is a reflection of hard facts (for example, crime rate), fact-based perception (“safety”), and complete intangibles, like what happens to be hip or trendy. Some of the factors (for example, proximity to a major employer) may not matter to you, while others that the market overlooks (like access to public transportation or a nearby hospital) might be critical.

Here are some tips to help you choose a neighborhood:

1.  Determine the maximum travel time to and from work you’re willing to tolerate. Traffic in some areas of Columbus can be excessive so don’t just use mileage to judge if your commute will be OK. I can guide you in determining which routes would work from any given community to your employer’s place of business.
2.  Talk to me about other activities your family does routinely, for example; movies, health clubs, churches, parks, and shopping areas you visit frequently. We can discuss travel time from each neighborhood you’re considering to your most common activities.
3.  Check out the school district. There are a number of agencies that keep statistics on school district accountability ratings as a determinant of school quality, a few of these sites can be found in the Links section of this site). As is the case in most parts of the country, school districts are a BIG deal in Columbus so even if you don’t have children; a home in a good school district will be easier to sell in the future. If you do have kids, consider a visit to the schools your children will be attending to make sure they meet your needs. Even in good districts, individual schools can vary widely.  
4.  Find out if the neighborhood is safe. While I can provide general crime statistics, it is a good idea to ask the local police department for crime statistics on individual neighborhoods. Consider not only the number of crimes but also the type. For example, property crimes versus violent crimes. Also, is the trend increasing or decreasing? Obviously this would also be useful to know.
5.  Determine if the neighborhood is economically stable. Again, I can give you general statistics, but if you are concerned, check with the economic development office for the area to see if income and property values are stable or rising. Additional things to consider: how many of the homes in the neighborhood are rentals (tenants don’t have the pride of ownership and often don’t keep up a home as well as an owner would), what is the percentage of homes to apartments? Apartments don’t necessarily diminish value, but they do mean a more transient population.
6.  Is the neighborhood appreciating? Although past performance is no guarantee  of future results, I can give you information about price appreciation trends in the neighborhood.  This information may give you a sense of how good an investment your home will be. I also keep up with planned developments such as new schools, retail growth, or new roads that might affect value.
7.  See for yourself. Once you’ve narrowed your focus to two or three neighborhoods, go there, and look for yourself. While I can point you to specific areas, only you can choose where you want to live. What is the character of the neighborhood? Are the homes tidy and well maintained? Are the streets quiet? Pick a warm day if you can and chat with people working or playing outside. Are they friendly? Are there children to play with your kids?

Click here for detailed information on Central Ohio Communities and Neighborhoods.

Click here for a Neighborhood Selector that allows you to select neighborhood and community attributes that appeal to you and then reveals which communities might be a good match for you!

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